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 user 2010-05-17 at 1:40:48 pm Views: 60
  • #23982

    Seiko Holdings, the creator of the world’s first quartz wristwatch, sacked its president yesterday for a “tendentious management style” in a move that could herald a new vogue for candour in corporate Japan.Seiko’s blunt explanation for why Koichi Murano was sacked suggests that it has learnt a lesson from the ousting of Kuniaki Nozoe as president of Fujitsu last September.Fujitsu initially said Mr Nozoe had resigned for health reasons, but after Mr Nozoe demanded his job back this March, it said that he actually agreed to resign after being threatened with dismissal over links to a company of “unfavourable reputation”.

    Mr Nozoe and Fujitsu are now embroiled in a legal dispute about the circumstances of his resignation.By contrast, Seiko pulled no punches in explaining Mr Murano’s exit. “[Mr Murano] has brought unstable corporate governance by his tendentious management style, reflecting only the opinions of some major shareholders and directors, and neglecting the reasonable exercise of executive power,” the company said.”As a result, [he] has raised distrust of the company management among our business partners and employees. To avoid this critical condition, the company determined to dismiss the former president.”

    Mr Murano could not be reached for comment.
    It is rare for a Japanese company to dismiss a top executive, let alone in such robust language.However, the Seiko case has involved a disagreement between the senior management and was decided on a 3-2 vote by the eligible board directors, according to local media reports. That suggests a quiet resignation was not an option.

    Mr Murano will be replaced by Shinji Hattori, the deputy president and a scion of the family that founded Seiko in 1881. Seiko has become one of Japan’s largest watchmakers and is the official timekeeper for the World Athletics Championships. It also makes golf clubs, metronomes and electronic components.Seiko Epson, which makes printers and scanners, is a separate company that started from the same corporate group.Seiko Holdings expects to have made a net loss of Y7.3bn ($78m) on sales of Y234bn in the year to March 2010. That follows a Y5.8bn loss last year. Seiko blames poor economic conditions in Japan, Europe and the US.After it bought full control of Seiko Instruments last year the group is in a relatively weak financial condition. Equity amounted to less than 10 per cent of total assets at the end of December 2009.